Does Drinking Alcohol Actually Make Depression Worse?

For those struggling with depression, alcohol is sometimes used to suppress symptoms related to their condition, such as irritability, loss of interest, anxiety, restlessness and insomnia. Unfortunately, using alcohol as a way to self-medicate depression can significantly impact physical and emotional well-being. A handful of FDA-approved medications, including Isulfiram (Antabuse), Naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol), and Acamprosate (Campral), can be used to reduce alcohol cravings, but they do not address co-occurring depression. Then, of course, there is the simple fact that a dual diagnosis is harder to treat than a single one. People with co-occurring disorders have a worse prognosis for treatment success, which is particularly worrisome because they also demonstrate a higher rate for suicide attempts and deaths. On top of that, as one’s blood alcohol content starts to decline, which Koob notes can happen fairly quickly after one stops drinking, the body starts to go into a mini-withdrawal.

Over time, you may build up more tolerance to alcohol and need increasing amounts to feel relief from depression. Some experts also suggest that both depression and alcohol use disorders share underlying pathophysiology in that they are both neuroinflammatory conditions. Because of this shared connection, treatment for both should include a diet aimed at improving gut function and reducing endotoxin load that contributes to neuroinflammation. Following a Mediterranean diet rich in omega-3’s, for example, might be one recommendation. Though depression is experienced by many, it can often go undiagnosed and untreated.

Symptoms and patterns

However, the brain is powerful and to some extent, it can repair itself. Patience is key and finding a mental health counselor who can walk you through the big emotions of alcohol recovery is highly recommended. While the literature suggests that nondependent levels of alcohol consumption may impact the treatment of depression, subclinical levels of consumption may not be addressed in a general psychiatric or psychological setting. Taken together, the current literature suggests a need to routinely assess alcohol use and to address alcohol use among the large number of depressed patients who are drinking heavily. Only one notable study of COA’s has demonstrated a higher-than-expected risk for these major psychiatric disorders. However, as pointed out by Kushner (1996), larger studies of COA’s who have passed the age of risk for most disorders will need to be conducted before final conclusions can be drawn.

does alcohol make depression worse

A preliminary evaluation of the lifetime rates of major depressive disorders in 2,409 interviewed relatives of alcoholics revealed a rate of 17.5 percent, a figure that was almost identical to the rate observed in control families. As discussed in Part One of this series, another barrier to treatment is that, in the U.S., separate treatment programs and services are in place to treat each problem. However, most addiction treatment programs are not geared to handle clinical depression, and people in treatment for depression seldom receive appropriate treatment for substance use disorders. There was a study in JAMA Psychiatry that pointed out that there could be a direct cause and effect relationship between alcohol and depression, specifically alcohol abuse and dependence, along with major depressive disorder in specific circumstances.

How to Manage Depression in Recovery

Alcohol can worsen the depressive symptoms in individuals who have already experienced the symptoms or individuals who could be genetically vulnerable to depressive disorders. Fortunately, several important ongoing studies will help answer some remaining questions regarding the treatment of does alcohol make depression worse coexisting depressive or anxiety disorders in the context of alcoholism. The COGA investigation will gather more data regarding potential alcoholic subtypes and will continue to explore possible genetic linkages between alcohol dependence and major depressive and major anxiety disorders.

  • Drink long enough — or hard enough — and you’re probably familiar with the dreadful feeling that comes the morning after a night of over-imbibing.
  • In addition, if you are taking antidepressants, alcohol can have a negative interaction with the drugs and further exacerbate your depression symptoms.
  • Alcohol use disorder and depression are two conditions that often occur together.
  • Because addictive substances raise the levels of “feel good” chemicals at a rate much higher than would occur naturally, they strongly reinforce the desire to repeat the experience.
  • Because of the complicated relationship between depression and alcohol use, Lurie says it’s best to address both at the same time through a specialized treatment program.
  • People who undergo major depressive symptoms might start the process of relying on alcohol to feel better, and ease their symptoms.

Increased anger might lead a person to pick fights with loved ones, while extreme self-loathing and sadness could result in severe depression symptoms. Despite what most people might think or feel, alcohol makes symptoms of depression worse. Unfortunately, while alcohol may initially increase serotonin and dopamine, the brain adapts to the overload. From then on, the brain demands higher and higher levels to deliver the desired effect. The result is a cycle of increasingly heavier drinking as you seek to overcome worsening depression. Experts caution anyone struggling with depression or another mental health condition to avoid using alcohol.

Depression, Relapse, and the Risk of Suicide

It’s a downward spiraling cycle that fuels both the alcohol addiction and the depression and anxiety. When a person drinks to lessen their feelings of anxiety, or dampen depressive thoughts, it may work while they are drinking. However, when they stop, their anxiety and depression will reappear with a vengeance. The day after drinking, a person with anxiety or depression is likely to feel jittery, depressed, anxious, shaky, like they will pass out, and they may even have cardiac symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat. Contrary to the popular belief that drink, depression, and anxiety can somehow be mitigated by drinking, the opposite is true.

No one wants to feel sad or anxious day after day, sometimes reaching a point where suicidal thoughts are a constant issue to contend with. It’s no wonder that someone trying to cope with the vicious cycle of anxiety, or the drink, depression, anxiety cycle, sees drinking as the only readily available solution to end these awful symptoms. If you find yourself saying, “I quit drinking and now I am depressed,” you are surely not alone. People who have co-occurring depression and alcoholism have an increased risk of suicide.

Deixe um comentário

O seu endereço de e-mail não será publicado. Campos obrigatórios são marcados com *